Steve Nichols

The air transport industry is endorsing a new Honeywell avionics safety product being launched at Farnborough 2000, with contracts worth up to $14 million. Honeywell's next-generation Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which has a range of 100 nautical miles, will be fitted on up to 39 new Airbus aircraft for Scandanavian Airlines (SAS) and as many as 37 Airbus A340-600s for Swissair and Virgin Atlantic. SAS has announced a firm order for 10 A330/340s and options for seven more, as well as firm orders for 12 A321s, with options for 10 more. The new TCAS, part of the new CAS-100 product range, has been developed from a former AlliedSignal product in conjunction with key Honeywell customers. Its main selling points are small size, low life-cycle cost (with 30,000 hours mean time between failures), and its ground-breaking 100 nautical mile range 60 miles more than existing systems.

This has been achieved with a more sensitive receiver and a phased-scan antenna. This will give pilots better situational awareness in areas not covered by radar, such as during trans-oceanic flights. Automatic Dependence Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) facilities will add even greater range.

TCAS broadcasts an enquiry to other aircraft transponders and uses their replies to determine their range and direction. Potential collisions can then be computed. ADS-B equipped aircraft continuously broadcast their position and direction. Frank Daly, president of Honeywell's Commercial Electronic Systems, says: "We started off by asking customers what features were most important to them and developed the system to meet their highest priority needs.

"Virgin Atlantic and Swissair joined in partnership to equip their new long-range aircraft and were both impressed with the small size, long range and low maintenance costs of the new CAS 100 product."

SAS has been one of the leaders of Very High-Frequency Digital Link Mode 4 (VDL-4) based ADS-B trials in Europe so the CAS 100 is particularly attractive to them. The CAS-100 has one other ace up its sleeve. It can be integrated with Honeywell's Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) to provide SmartAlerting a feature which shares data between the two units to provide the best overall indication of both traffic and terrain.

Source: Flight Daily News